How/why/when do you choose your point of view or main characters, protagonists?

I wouldn’t say I choose them. They come to me with their story, and they ask me to tell it for them. Some characters live in my head for years before their stories are ready to come out. Others–just a fews months or weeks. I give the character a trial run–there are usually at least two or three false starts–then once I get into the rhythm, the story unfolds.

How/why/when do you choose point of view (first, some variety of third person)?

There is never a choice. First person all the way. Otherwise, I simply cannot connect to the character.

How/why/when do you choose where the work in progress “starts” or opens?

It starts when I put those first words on the screen and find myself in the flow. Usually, I have to have at least 2,000 words down before I consider it a new WIP. Otherwise, it’s just a dabble.

Is the first thing you write about likely to end up being the first thing that your readers eventually read?

No. Again, I tend to have a few false starts (usually a paragraph or two) before finally finding the perfect storyline, niche, voice, narrator, etc.

Do you ever write the ending first? How/why/when do you choose chronology/structure?

I do not write the ending first, but I may not necessarily write it last, either. I’ve done books both ways–completely in order, and also skipped around, writing whatever scene strikes my fancy and then moving things around later. I go with the flow and write whatever I feel like. Otherwise, I could get stuck on something forever and ever. The beauty of this is that I can make the rules. I don’t have to write in order. I don’t have to use “chapter one, chapter two, etc.” I don’t have to write the ending last. I can write what I need to get out at that moment, and come back to the hard parts later. Sometimes I have to mull over a scene mentally before I can get it down. Sometimes, I know something will be very emotional and hard, so I have to make sure I’m in the right place to focus on it. As long as I’m writing, I don’t care which order it’s getting down.

Does your writing process change when you shift genres or topics (say from a story to an essay, or from fiction to non-fiction)?

I haven’t switched genres yet, but I’m sure it would change depending on the needs of the topic and/or genre.

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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